With such an onslaught of games this holiday season, it was very easy to get lost within the Capital Wasteland that was Fallout 3, frightening corridors filled with the lurking undead that was Left 4 Dead, or the quirky build-it-yourself platformer that was Little Big Planet. However, Square Enix delivers the final blow; one neatly packaged to fit right in your pocket, so prepare for complete reversion to your ten year old self.
As anyone who has played the game in its two previous incarnations can tell you, Chrono Trigger has very few equals on the Super Nintendo, and has provided hours upon hours of time traveling adventure over the past 14 years. With its re-release on the DS, many fans, including myself, became overflowed with excitement and skipped down to GameStop with our hair in pigtails, butterflies in our stomachs, and skirts blowing in the wind. The hankering for a true sequel to the best selling, top rated Chrono Cross has been the desire of any fan of the series, no matter how small or large. Yet, Square Enix does not satisfy this hunger, but does offer a substitute, one which does not garner many complaints.
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As you enter, or reenter the world of Guardia for the first time, you realize how truly impressive Chrono Trigger was for its era. Originally released nearly 15 years ago, CT’s effects can be considered archaic and will not help win over today’s visually obsessed youth. However, Square Enix’s sprite based graphics provide a nostalgic touch, as well as a certain impressiveness with beautiful, original scenery and surprisingly detailed sprites. But visuals are not why this game has transcended time. The gripping story, deep combat system, great soundtrack, plot related sidequests, and a dozen or so different endings allow this game, much like its cast of characters, to remain timeless.
Yet, if you are new to the world of Guarida, you will find innovations that continue to remain…well, innovative. Chrono Trigger, at first glance, plays like most console-style RPGs, wherein you take the role of a main protagonist, travel a world map, are joined by a distinct cast of characters, and vanquish the forces of evil, though, the way you go about these tasks is vastly different than most other RPGs. Chrono is not simply an attractive name; it does imply “time” and by association the time traveling action the player will quickly develop a liking for. It is in certain chosen points in time that you will meet the cast of characters and unfold the story at hand.
As you traverse through the space-time continuum, you’ll encounter many beasties of various kinds. One thing to note is, even though the graphics may be outdated, not many recolors of sprites are used, which was common practice of the time, allowing for many unique monsters to fight along your adventure. And combat is where the game becomes truly engrossing. Random encounters are nonexistent; instead, much like the 16-Bit action RPGs, enemies appear on screen.
As you near the vicinity of an enemy, combat initiates, with the options to fight, use an item, defend, or attack, heal, or support with the use of Techs. Offering intriguing options, Techs are magic and special attacks performed by every character. Each character’s set differs, yet they can be mixed and matched between characters, allowing for more advanced, flashier, and higher damage Techs. Dual and Triple Techs will be necessary throughout the game, as will determining which character parties offer the best combinations, offering a sense of customization not seen in other games.
Now, being a port, one may wonder…what’s new? Well, to you old-timers, you’ll notice that a slick new interface has been set in place, one where the DS’s stylus has been included. The touch screen acts as a mixture of menu, map, and combat options, while the top screen is your display. The touch screen is optional, as the buttons may be used for a classic feel, however, using the stylus offers a new twist for veterans. The script has also been updated, cleaning up pesky translation errors, as well as giving the text a much needed facelift. These additions are all packaged with the extra features from the first re-release on the PlayStation, which includes bestiary, art gallery, and anime cutscenes, as well as the original sidequests that delve further into character back-stories.
Yet, the most notable additions, two extra dungeons, are lackluster at best. One opening before the final boss and the other after completion of the game, they offer very repetitive collection quests that can become aggravating very quickly with the immense amount of backtracking, reuse of backgrounds and enemies, and less than adequate rewards. Although the new additions aren’t quite up to the rest of the game’s standards, they do provide enough entertainment that include two extra endings, on top of the twelve original ones, as well as insight that help tie up some loose ends within the series.
Offering time-traveling thrills that would even get Doc Brown excited, Chrono Trigger withstands the test of time to deliver an unforgettable adventure, supported by an engrossing story and deep combat. With all the great games that I’m sure many of you are slowly catching up on, Chrono Trigger can easily become lost among the herd, but should not be missed.
Although the game is nearly 15 years old, it still hold strong in todays graphic driven world, creating the same experience as all those years ago.
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The music is tremendous; yet, with 90% of games providing voice work, you feel a little cheated that no cast was hired.
Square Enix delivers a captivating adventure fueled by a combat system that vials many console RPGs today.
Providing many plot related sidequests, two additional dungeons, althoughmediocre, and fourteen different endings, Chrono Trigger allows for dozens of hours of time traveling fun.
Chrono Trigger allows for veterans to relive their childhood, and newcomers to experience a classic, all while sitting on a bus, train, airplane, or slacking off at work. A must have for any DS owner.